Franciscan monastery Flensburg

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Entrance from the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, which was built on the remains of the wall of the former Franciscan monastery.
Monastery of the Holy Spirit, which was built on the remains of the wall of the former Franciscan monastery from the side.
Holy Spirit Monastery as seen from Dr. Todsen Strasse

The Franciscan Monastery of Flensburg (formerly also: Franciscan Monastery of St. Katharinen and St. Katharinenkloster ; today also: Monastery of the Holy Spirit ) was founded in Flensburg in 1263 and can still be seen today in remnants behind the Südermarkt , near the Rote Straße . In 1269, the first religious chapter of the newly founded Franciscan province of Dacia ( Denmark ) took place here.


As a monastery of the Franciscan order

The brothers of the Franciscan Order , founded in 1210 , probably came along the trade route from the North Sea coast from the Ripen monastery, founded in 1232, or from the Gray Monastery (before 1250) in Schleswig. They were called gray brothers because of their gray robes and were a mendicant order committed to poverty. Because of their footwear, the Franciscans belonged to the Discalceatic type (barefoot or barefoot).

They soon founded the Hospital of the Holy Spirit and outside the city the St. Jürgen Leprosy Hospital (1283) (cf. St. Jürgen Church (Flensburg) ). Today only the small Church of the Holy Spirit of the said Hospital of the Holy Spirit remains . The privileges are said to have been given by the Archbishop of Lund and the Bishop of Schleswig . The monastery had a rival connection to the nearby Cistercian monastery Rüde (today in Glücksburg , not preserved), which also owned land and had influence in Flensburg.

With the Franciscans, a high medieval spiritual life broke in Flensburg. With them came a new style of pastoral care and proclamation. Their ideal of poverty stood in stark contrast to the emerging wealth of the citizens and long-distance traders, such as the Flensburg Knudsgilde .

In 1496, the observants prevailed over the conventuals within the Franciscan order in the monastery. With this, the original rules of the order were observed more strictly (Latin observance) and the possessions of the order were given up.

The monastery at the time of the Reformation

In 1528 the priest Swend, with the help of Flensburg citizens gathered together, is said to have expelled the Franciscan brothers (see section: The expulsion of the monks in 1528 ). With the reformer Gerhard Slewardt, Flensburg had become completely Protestant. On April 8, 1529, a disputation, the so-called Flensburg Disputation , took place in the monastery, chaired by the Crown Prince Duke Christian : between Melchior Hofmann, suspected of being a fanatic, and the Lutherans represented by Johannes Bugenhagen and Hermann Tast on the real presence of Christ at the Lord's Supper . During this meeting, the Danish Crown Prince, later King Christian III. and 400 other personalities participated, it was also decided to introduce the Reformation in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein. With the accession to the throne a little later, Christian III. the project completely. In 1530, King Frederick I donated the monastery buildings to the city. She turned it into a poor house, in which many former Franciscans were also accepted again. The treasures of the Franciscan book house ( libraria ) were probably lost in a fire.

The most famous Franciscan in Flensburg was certainly Lütke's name , who, however, only returned to Flensburg in 1528 after studying Catholic theology in Paris after the Reformation that had taken hold in Flensburg. He was therefore unable to implement his idea of ​​founding a theological school in Flensburg with his fortune and initially went to other monasteries (Ribe, Nysted , Schwerin ). In 1544 he could with the permission of the Danish King Christian III. return to Flensburg on the condition not to live his Catholic faith publicly. Later in 1566 he founded what is now the old grammar school as a Lutheran Latin school. He wasn't allowed to teach there, but he was left to manage the school's finances. The extensive library of the old grammar school, which also contains a number of anti-Lutheran writings, is attributed to him. There is also evidence that he did not always obey the ban on living his Catholic beliefs publicly, which the people of Flensburg apparently took on with humor. This was covered by an edict of tolerance by the Danish King Frederick I at the official introduction of the Reformation: that nobody's faith should be suppressed by force and that one should abstain from any tumult, but still spread the Lutheran teaching.

The monastery of the Holy Spirit since modern times

Memorial plaque to the establishment of the foundation: Hospital and Monastery of the Holy Spirit

In 1545, under Christian III, the Hospital and Monastery of the Holy Spirit Foundation , which still exists today.

Around 1579 the Katharinenkirche , which belonged to the monastery grounds, was largely damaged by a collapse. The church was not rebuilt, instead a church hall was integrated into the former enclosure during a renovation between 1585 and 1587. This is still available today in the wing in question, i.e. today's church wing. The Katharinenbell of the old church is now in the city ​​museum . In the second half of the 19th century, the neighboring Munketoftstift was built , a residential complex for poorer sections of the population, in an architectural style that harmonizes with the monastery.

Nowadays the monastery serves the foundation as a nursing home for the elderly . After building over and adding modern buildings in the western area of ​​the Franciscan monastery at the end of the 20th century, it is hardly recognizable as a historical monastery. Nowadays, a small museum room houses the remains of the monastery wall, which served as part of the city ​​fortifications of Flensburg , as well as other excavation pieces from the monastery grounds.

The legends of the monastery

The subterranean passages of the Duburg which should reach to the monastery

In the legend about the underground passages of the Duburg (see there for more) it is mentioned, among other things, that said underground passages would extend to the monastery.

The expulsion of the monks in 1528

The legend tells of the expulsion of the monks.

The following is reported. When Luther's teachings gradually gained acceptance in Flensburg in 1526 and the old beliefs were suppressed, the end of the Franciscan monastery was approaching. But the Duburg bailiff and some respected citizens who did not want to break away from the old habits saved the Franciscan monastery from its fate. But when the king gave the monastery to his court master Magnus Gjöe in 1528 , the end was near. He sent the priest Svend to Flensburg. There he was supposed to drive the brothers out of the monastery with the help of the citizens. Svend gathered a considerable number of citizens and went to the monastery with them. There he asked the monastery chief Stig Nielsen to give him the keys to the monastery. This followed the order. Stig Nielsen and his two deputies, Brother Andreas Hoffmann and Brother Johannes, agreed to leave the monastery. Shortly afterwards, the lay brother who was in charge of the pantries was asked for the keys to them. But said lay brother, named Johannes, stated that he would not give the keys due to the drinks that were recently stored there. But if it is true what the priest Svend claims that by the end of the year all monks have been expelled from Denmark, then he wants to continue his previous office for the court master Magnus Gjöe. The monastery cook, Brother Andreas Grad, immediately joined in what had been said. So the brothers were given permission to stay until the next day.

Shortly afterwards the Franciscans had to leave Flensburg. However, they were allowed to have a meal beforehand, at which the pantry was emptied, at which the said citizens also found their place.

Some of these events are classified as sagas or legends, but some are also accepted as historical events.


  • Flensburg - History of a Border Town, Society for Flensburg City History (Ed.), 655 S., Flensburg 1966.
  • Jørgen Nybo Rasmussen : The Franciscan monastery in Flensburg and the order province "Dacia" around 1500 , in: Flensburg 700 years of the city - a commemorative publication , Vol. 1: Flensburg in history (Writings of the Society for Flensburg City History 36: 1, Flensburg 1984), Pp. 85-104.
  • A. Wolff (ed.): The former Franciscan monastery in Flensburg , ZSHG 14, 1884, pp. 157–198.
  • Frauke Witte: Archeology in Flensburg. Excavations at the Franciscan monastery . 313 S. Society for Flensburg City History EV Series of publications Volume 57. Flensburg / Haderslev 2003.
  • Dieter Pust : Flensburg. A city and its history , 2002.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Andreas Oeding, Broder Schwensen, Michael Sturm: Flexikon. 725 aha experiences from Flensburg! , Flensburg 2009, article: Katharinenkirche
  2. Haye Gudessen, citizen of Flensburg, residing in St. Nikolai parish, declares ... , accessed on: November 3, 2014
  3. ^ A b Kai Fuhrmann: The knighthood as a political corporation in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein from 1460 to 1721 , 2002, page 175
  4. ^ A b Andreas Oeding, Broder Schwensen, Michael Sturm: Flexikon. 725 aha experiences from Flensburg! , Flensburg 2009, article: Franziskanerkloster Flensburg
  5. a b Flensburg - history of a border town. Edited by the Society for Flensburg City History. Flensburg 1966, page 76
  6. ^ Andreas Oeding, Broder Schwensen, Michael Sturm: Flexikon. 725 aha experiences from Flensburg! , Flensburg 2009, article: Lutherpark
  7. Writings of the Society for Flensburg City History (ed.): Hospital and Monastery to the Holy Spirit . Flensburg 1995, page 118 ff.
  8. Writings of the Society for Flensburg City History (ed.): Hospital and Monastery to the Holy Spirit . Flensburg 1995, page 42
  9. Gundula Hubrich-Messow: Legends and fairy tales from Flensburg , Husum 1992, page 44 f.
  10. Gundula Hubrich-Messow: Legends and fairy tales from Flensburg , Husum 1992, page 45 f. as well as the same text in: Christian Voigt: From Flensburgs Sage und Geschichte , Flensburg 1912; in Voigt the story is attributed to the lay brother Johannes
  11. ^ Dieter Pust : Flensburg. A city and its history , 2002

Web links

Commons : Franziskanerkloster Flensburg  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 54 ° 46 ′ 56 ″  N , 9 ° 26 ′ 10 ″  E